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Saturday, January 20, 2007

VP$IP and Table Talk: The Matusow/Smith Quandary

Enough about math; let's talk some psychology.

Those who have listened to The Circuit since its inception know that its first host, Mike Matusow, and it second group of hosts, Joe Sebok and Gavin Smith, professed very different styles of play.

Matusow preached (although I have no idea if he practiced this) a pretty tight style. He'd continually say you don't have to play a super-loose, super-aggressive style because most players were bad enough that you can just play solid, wait around for a good hand and trap.

Smith and Sebok (although Smith moreso) play a much looser style of poker. In internet poker terms, you could say that they play a LAG style.

So what is this a function of?

Let's look at some other players who play each style.

Tight (or perhaps even supertight):


So besides playing style, what do Matusow and Hellmuth share that Negreanu and Smith do not?

I think a large part of it is their table talk. Smith and Negreanu are both known for being jokers at the table. They both talk a lot, but they're pretty friendly. Their game plan, essentially, is to be everybody's buddy.

Then there's Matusow and Hellmuth. They whine, cry, talk shit. Basically, they make themselves targets. I would imagine that players like Tony G and Shawn Sheikan are also pretty solid players.

So the Matusow/Smith Quandary is this: the nicer you are to your opponents, the more hands you'll be able to play because they will let you steal more often and will gun for you less. The more of a prick you are, the more action you will get.

Of course, this effect is probably close to negligible against most players and for most people; I would imagine you'd have to pull this (whichever style you are attempting and are more comfortable with) on a pretty rank amateur and even then, you would have to be pretty excessive whichever route you opt to take.


Anonymous said...

this post made me think a little...i like it.

kind of back to the whole "would you rather be loved or feared" dilemma.


Anonymous said...

Jesus, by that standard, I should probably open-fold kings.

And show the laydown of course.

NFulton said...

"Is this guy really that big of an idiot?"